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RALEIGH, N.C. – An online banking pioneer, Coastal Federal Credit Union has just completed an upgrade of its own custom-made Internet banking platform, marking the completion of a five-year project. Coastal FCU was one of the first financial institutions to do live transactions online when it launched its service in 1996. An upgrade was begun in 1999 with the help of Gallagher Systems Group, a Chicago IT consultancy that has continued to work on the project, which has reached completion as a new online banking module for the $1.3 billion CU. By then, most credit unions and banks were using pre-packaged online banking platforms, but Coastal decided to avoid those start-up and monthly costs and retain its own platform, which it calls Coastal Online Transaction Service (COLTS). “We struggled with the decision to either enhance our current online banking platform or replace it,” said Carlton Howard, vice president of e-business services at Coastal. “While there were several good technical packages available, none of the packages were really designed to suit our membership.” So Gallagher was retained and completed the first step in 2000, converting the system platform to NT Windows 2000, creating an interface for electronic statements and bill payment and designing one-click navigation and transaction history features. The consultants also designed an online banking interface for the CU’s core processing system, the CUBE platform from what is now IntegraSys. While the CU’s managers decided that having a custom platform allowed them to better control their cost structures, as well as have the flexibility and customization they felt they needed, “we also recognized we did not have the expertise in-house to successfully support enhancing our current platform,” Howard said. “We chose Gallagher to supplement and support us with enhancing our existing platform because we needed a partner that was fast, professional, flexible and could understand our vision for the home banking solution,” he said. Jake Maan de Kok, vice president of Gallagher Systems Group, said, “Today, members require solid, online functionality from their financial institution and we were able to economically provide that for Coastal Federal Credit Union in a way that positively impacted their return on investment in automation technology.” -

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